|Facts and Figures|
|Languages||Hindi, Marathi and English|
|Best time to visit||Throughout the year|
THE CITY OF THE HOLKARS
Indore is the capital city of the erstwhile Holkar rulers. It is an important industrial city in central India and is known as ’mini Mumbai’. There are a number of historical monuments in Indore belonging to the Holkars. Indore is also known for its temples. The architecture of the monuments in Indore is the amalgamation of different styles.
Indore is located in the Narmada River valley in the western part of the state of Madhya Pradesh in central India. River Saraswati and River Kham, which are tributaries of River Shipra, flow through Indore. Indore is 264 km from Bhopal. The weather is moderate. Summers (April-June) are not too hot and winters are cool (November-February) and pleasant. It experiences southwestern monsoon rains in July-September.
Indore can be visited throughout the year because of its pleasant climate.
Local landlords established Indore in 1715 as a trade center in the Narmada River valley. They also built the Indreshwar temple in 1741. The city derives its name from this temple. It became the capital city of the Holkars and later became the headquarters of the British Central India Agency and the summer capital of Madhya Bharat (1948-56), before it became a part of the state of Madhya Pradesh.
There are a number of tourist places in Indore. The Rajwada or the old palace, located in the old part of the city, near the bustling Khajuri Bazaar, is an important site to visit. This building is a unique blend of French, Mughal and Maratha style of architecture. This seven story, 200-year-old building reflects the glory of the Holkars. The three lower stories are made of stone while the upper stories are made of wood and therefore vulnerable to fire.
Not much remains of this building, except its façade, as it had been burned down three times in the past. The Kanch Mandir (the temple of mirrors) or Seth Hukanchand temple is located near the Rajwada. It is a Jain temple, having plain exteriors, and contains intricate mirror work on the inside.
The Indore Museum, located near the Main Post Office, houses a good collection of pre-medieval and medieval artifacts. The Lal Bagh Palace (built between 1886-1921) is the most important monument created by the erstwhile Holkar rulers. Important state functions were held here. It is set amongst well-laid gardens and located at the southwestern part of Indore. The architecture and interiors of this modern palace is highly influenced by English palaces. Another attraction of Indore city is the Gandhi Hall or Town Hall, built in 1904. This Indo-Gothic styled building is also referred as Ghanta Ghar because it has a four-faced clock tower in the front. A number of art and cultural exhibitions are held in this building. The Chhatri (Cenotaph) Bagh, located near the Kham River, has a number of chhatris or memorial cenotaphs erected in memory of the erstwhile Holkar rulers and their family members. The architectural style of these chhatris is typically Marathi. The Chhatri of Malhar Rao Holkar I, the founder of Holkar dynasty, is impressive. Indore also has the largest Ganpati statue in the world. The Bada Ganpati temple, having an 8-m-tall, bright orange statue of Lord Ganesh was built in 1875. The Gita Bhavan, the Annapurna temple, Bijasen Tekri (a hilltop picnic spot and a vantage point to see Indore at night), and Gomtagiri Jain temples are other places worth visiting in Indore.
Kasturbagram, 8 km from Indore, houses the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust, which was founded by Mahatma Gandhi. This trust has dedicated itself to rural development and its activities are on the principles laid down by Mahatma Gandhi.
Omkareshwar, known for its Shiva temple of Shri Omkar Mandhata, is located on an island at the confluence of Narmada and Kaveri rivers. The island is connected with the mainland with a high footbridge. There are number of other temples on this island. It takes about 3 hours from Indore to reach here by bus.
The town of Maheshwar is famous for its fort and temples and the saris produced by the local weavers. These intricately patterned silk saris of Maheshwar are called Maheshwari. Travelers having a taste for traditional Indian handicraft can buy saris from local shops. It takes about 4 hours from Indore to reach here by bus.
Mandu is a town famous for its medieval buildings, which include palaces, tombs, temples and a fort. It takes about 3½ hours from Indore to reach here by bus.
FAIRS AND FESTIVALSBijasen Tekri, near Indore airport, is a small hillock housing the Holkar guesthouse, a small museum and the temple of Bijasen Mata built in 1920. Every year, during the Hindu festival of Navratri, a fair is held in this temple.
SHOPPINGKhajuri bazaar, near the Rajwada, is a shopper’s paradise in Indore. The shops here abound with gold and silverwork, cloth, leatherwork and traditional garments.
HOW TO REACHIndore has an airport on the western side of the town. The Indian Airlines office (Ph: 431595) is located on Racecourse Road. Indian Airlines operates daily evening flight to Mumbai and there are daily morning flights for Delhi via Bhopal and Gwalior. Jet Airways (Ph: 544590) also has daily flights to Mumbai in the morning.
Indore is well connected to Delhi and Mumbai by rail. There is a daily Malwa Express to Delhi from Indoor, via Ujjain, Bhopal, Jhansi, Gwalior and Agra. The Awantika Express leaves everyday in the afternoon for Mumbai (16 hours). The other broad gauge line connects Indore to Ujjain, Bhopal and Jabalpur. There is also an Intercity Express between Indore and Bhopal and the travel time is 5½ hours. There is also a meter-gauge track from Indore to Jaipur.
Sarwate is the main bus station of Indore. Indore is well connected by bus with Ujjain (1½ hours) and Bhopal (5 hours). To catch a bus for Mumbai, one has to either take a bus to Dhar (2 hours) or to Mandu (1½ hour). From Gangwal bus station, one can catch buses for Dhar, Omkareshwar, Aurangabad, Ajanta and Mumbai (16 hours).
One can either use taxi or auto-rickshaw to move around in Indore. Point-to-point tempo service is also available in Indore and the main tempo stops are at the railway station and Gandhi Hall.
The Tourist Office (Ph: 528653) is near the tourist bungalow on Tagore Road.
PLACES TO STAYOne can find all kind of accommodation in Indore ranging from economy to high-end hotels. Low-budget hotels can be found in the area between the Sarwate bus station and the railway station.
PLACES TO EATIndore is famous for its salty snacks or namkeen. Bhang Gota is a local specialty. It is made during the festivals. Travelers can choose from a variety of cuisine and local snacks, available at different restaurants, eating joints and hotels across the city.
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